Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home >  Tamils - a Trans State Nation  > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide - Preface, Prologue & Index > Black July 1983 - The Record Speaks


Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide

It was a plan which required
considerable organisational resources
Who were the planners who were in a position
to command considerable organisational resources?...

It was plan which required considerable organisational resources. There was a need to mobilise a large number of goondas to attack simultaneously in many different parts of the country. The plan required that lists of names and addresses of Tamils be prepared from electoral registers in respect of electorates not only in Colombo but also in Kandy, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and elsewhere. The plan required arrangements to be made for the transport of goondas from outside Colombo. The plan required that the goondas should be supplied with the implements to commit murder and arson.

Again, it would not have been open to the planners to advertise in the daily press for the recruits they required to implement a plan such as the one that they had in mind. Nor was it open to the planners to set about recruiting large numbers of persons in advance, to implement a contingent plan. If they had given advance notice of the plan to the thousands who were required to implement the plan, the danger of a leak would have increased in proportion to the number of persons who were made aware of the plan.

A plan which involved murder and arson must be kept secret. But this was more so, where the plan was a contingent plan and which must therefore await the happening of a future event, the timing of which may not be entirely within the control of the planners. It would not have done, if the world had become aware of the plan before the time had arrived for its implementation. The best kept secrets are those that are known to the smallest number. And the contingent plan that was put into operation on 24 July 1983 was a secret that was well kept. It was a contingent plan which was known to a relatively small number - until the contingent event occurred and the order was given to implement the plan.

At the same time it was necessary that once the plan was made operational, the planners should have the capacity to mobilise thousands to do the deed at relatively short notice. But thousands cannot be mobilised at short notice, unless the thousands belonged to an existing organisational network. The planners were persons who were in a position to command and use such an existing network - a network with knowledge and experience of strong arm methods.

"..Thugs have been an increasingly important part of the Sri Lankan political scene over the last few years. They are like storm troopers, employed by right wing politicians and used freely at election time to intimidate, for example, voters..." (The New Statesman, 28 August 1983)

The New Statesman may have added, if it had known, that the largest concentration of 'storm troopers' was to be found in the trade union wing of the ruling party, the Jathika Sevaya Sangamaya, appropriately called the J.S.S., for short. The President of the J.S.S. was Industries Minister, Cyril Mathew and it was not without significance that the overwhelming majority of the members of the JSS were employees of government owned Corporations which functioned under the Industries Minister. In the words of a Dutch Working Group in its Memorandum of Human Rights Violations and Ethnic Violence in Sri Lanka in December 1983:

"The use of the police or pro government supporters to harass, humiliate and intimidate the opposition is not a phenomenon peculiar to this government... But under the present government, this phenomenon has assumed an alarmingly new dimension, in the highly organised and systematic way in which goondas are made use of for political purposes. These squads are organised in two ways. UNP parliamentarians are known to have a permanent squad of vigilantes in their electoral districts, made up of UNP youth leaguers and well known local thugs. In addition, vigilante squads drawn from the UNP trade union, the JSS, have been organised in each government owned corporation. These squads function as para military units exercising pro government discipline, and do not hesitate to use violence to achieve their ends....

When (the Sinhala opposition leader) Mrs.Bandaranaike was deprived of her civic rights, the government feared that her supporters would come to Colombo to stage a civil disobedience. To prevent this, groups of UNP thugs were deployed all over the city in addition to the armed forces. President Jayawardene himself stated at a public ceremony in the village of Thopawewa: 'we told the party organisations, trade unions, youth leagues and women's leagues to protect their villages, not to allow even a dog to enter the city of Colombo, to ask those who try to enter why they were coming and to inspect them."

Who were the planners who were in a position to command considerable organisational resources?



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